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MSU College of Law



September 15, 2011


MSU Law Presents Endowed Chair in Matrimonial Law


East Lansing, MI — Michigan State University College of Law is pleased to announce Cynthia Lee Starnes as the first John F. Schaefer Chair in Matrimonial Law. The Schaefer Chair is the first fully endowed Chair in the Law College’s history.

Professor Starnes presented the Schaefer Chair Inaugural Lecture on “Alimony and Partnership Marriage: Rethinking the Law and Theory of Post-Divorce Income Sharing” at MSU Law on Thursday, September 15. The event also featured comments by distinguished alumnus John F. Schaefer, ’69, and Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Talbot.

Professor Starnes’ unique line of scholarship lies at the intersection of family law, partnership law, and feminist theory. Her critiques of current law and reform proposals have provoked widespread commentary. She has presented her scholarship in both international and national fora, and has worked with grass roots community groups dedicated to law reform.

A long-term member of the MSU Law faculty, Professor Starnes co-chairs the Child and Family Advocacy certificate program, is co-advisor of the Family Law focus area, and serves as faculty advisor to the Family Law Society. She has taught family law to students abroad, and commercial law to judges at the National Judicial College. She was named an MSU Outreach and Engagement Senior Fellow for her scholarly work toward community change, and was appointed in 2006 as one of six Computer Assisted Legal Instruction Fellows in Family Law.

The Schaefer Chair in Matrimonial Law is made possible through a generous gift from John F. Schaefer, ’69. Schaefer is one of the country’s best-known and most highly respected lawyers in the field of matrimonial law, which he has practiced for more than four decades. He also is a trustee emeritus who taught Family Law for more than 30 years as an adjunct professor at the Law College. Schaefer recently made a $6 million gift to name the Law College Library and endow a chair in matrimonial law.

For more information about the MSU Law faculty, visit

Michigan State University College of Law, a leading institution of legal education with a long history of educating practice-ready attorneys, prepares future lawyers to use ethics, ambition, and intellect to solve the world’s problems. As one of only a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent institution, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars, its curriculum is rigorous and challenging, and its facility is equipped with the latest resources—all affirming MSU Law’s commitment to educating 21st-century lawyers.


320 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

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